The Day Without Donuts

I’m tired after work, y’all. Even on the best of days when I had a full 8+ hours of restful sleep…I still get up around 4am so by the time I get home in the early evening I’m done. I’m out. It takes everything out of me not to curl up in bed right after our 5:30PM dinner.

I have to play tricks on myself. The only working TV in our house is in our bedroom so I used to sit in bed and watch it but I’ve learned this is a TERRIBLE IDEA. Because they I do go to bed before 7pm. Now I sit in the uncomfortable rocking chair that forces me to get up periodically and do some chore or something to keep my back from cramping up.

But lately I’ve not been sleeping well. I’ve been more restless than usual. I’ve had a hard time getting to sleep which is unusual as well. So now? In the evenings? I’m like a zombie.

And by “evenings” I mean, like, 6pm.

All of this is to tell you that I’m a TERRIBLE Mother at night. Both of my kids require kid-gloves. They both have emotional challenges that mean I have to analyze every word out of their mouth and then analyze my words and actions as a response to keep one from falling into an anger spiral and the other from having a panic attack. Parenting is exhausting and I have no energy for it in the evenings lately. NONE. I’m doing a huge disservice to my kids but – you know – I’m also human so I’m trying to be too ashamed.

Last night was a night where I really needed all of my patience and energy and I had none and it was as terrible as you can imagine. Both kids had breakdowns and it was due to my lack of focus and energy and I handled the breakdowns terribly and it was just a giant mess. Donnie came home and I remembered I needed to get the kids some cough medicine so I went to Publix to pick up JUST THAT ONE THING.

But I was having a TERRIBLE night.

What do I usually do in that situation?

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6-pack of Krispy Kremes eaten in my car and the box disposed of before I got home.

And usually I buy some beer for the house. Donnie even asked me to buy him beer but I said, “Listen, I’ve had a bad day and I’ve not had any beer all week and if I buy YOU beer I’ll drink it so can I wait and just get beef for you this weekend?”

But the donuts…that was a decision I had to make AT THE STORE.

And I bought peaches instead.

And I came home and made one of my favorite treats: Fresh peaches with some preserves spread over them.

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It was still a bad night. I didn’t find any energy or patience at Publix to purchase. I was still emotional incapable of being the parent my kids needed…BUT!

At least I didn’t add a big whopping serving of Eating and Drinking My Feelings on top of that, right?

It honestly wasn’t even too much of a struggle. I’ve been logging my food again which is a good habit to be in but it’s so tedious and I hate it so I usually don’t do it. But I know without out a doubt if I stick to it, it helps me focus on eating WELL instead of just stuffing my face with whatever numbs the pain.

And I’ve had four really good days and had no desire to ruin that stretch so avoiding the donuts wasn’t so difficult.

But I’m proud. And after a terrible night of exhausted parenting, I need something to be proud of.

EEK. I got up, made another cup of coffee and came back and realized THAT IS A TERRIBLE WAY TO END A BLOG ENTRY. You all are going to feel compelled to make me feel better so let me say one more thing:

I have the luxury of having had one really easy child so I’m well aware that some kids take more energy than others and when I’m not in the middle of FEELING LIKE A TERRIBLE PARENT, then I know I’m doing a respectable job. So this morning I’m not as down on myself as I was last night. Mainly I’m just frustrated I can’t sleep better and that my body things 3:30am is the best time to have ALL OF THE POSITIVE ENERGY! My kids never see that side of me because they’re still in bed. Nighttime Kim is kinda useless. MORNING KIM IS AMAZING!

So I’m not feeling as bad about myself this morning as I was last night. Let’s just hope tonight can be a No Donut night AND a Good Parenting night. WOULDN’T THAT BE NICE?

A Small Success

Yesterday was one of those days PERFECT for the eating of the feelings. I was exhausted after a late night and early morning and several hours out in the sun volunteering at a race. I was stressed because I tried to go into work to catch up on some stuff but technical difficulties thwarted me making me terribly unproductive. I was overwhelmed with my “To Do” list and I dropped the ball on a few things and best of all? I shattered my phone.

So last night I wanted to eat all of the birthday deserts in the world. Which we have plenty of as we had Wes’s birthday celebration here Sunday night.

BUT I DID NOT.

And it felt weird.

I wasn’t perfect, I still ate more snacks than I should have, but I didn’t have any typical Kim binge sessions and I had plenty of opportunities. I even had to make a run to Publix for one thing and typically on a “bad day” that means I buy something terrible and eat too much of it hiding in my van in the parking lot and disposing of the evidence at the park next door before I go home.

Seriously. That’s my thing. I do it often.

Instead I bought exactly what I was supposed to and came home and continued the frequent journeys to the kitchen where I would look at all the deserts, and make some preserves-on-toast instead. Or something more healthy. Like I said, I still snacked when I wasn’t hungry, but I didn’t fall down any of the binge pits I usually do on similar days.

AND IT WAS SO WEIRD.

I just felt off all night because my body/mind had no idea how to feel all of the things I was feeling: exhaustion, stress, sadness, shame – without stuffing my face. It was like my body/mind knows that the release for those feelings is to eat so much I feel sick and without the feeling sick, I just felt like a brimming pot about to boil over. All of the anxiety was bubbling at the surface and nothing was turning down the heat.

That’s why my Grief Recovery Handbook calls it a “Short Term Energy Releasing Behavior” because it changes that energy by replacing it with the energy that binging gives me. And I was unable to find any other ways to disrupt that energy last night. BUT – that’s okay – because while I didn’t figure out a way to cope with the feelings, I didn’t fall back on binging so that’s a step.

(Sidenote Book Review: The book has had a lot of wonderfully helpful things in it – things weirdly only barely related to grieving for my Dad. But the book and my therapist have been great helping me find the cause to struggling with the grief, which has less to do with my Dad dying than I thought. All of that said – the book is a hard read without my therapist there to guide me through it. I’m not sure I would recommend it wholeheartedly unless it was something you were going to work through with a professional. I doubt I would have made it past the first chapter on my own.)

It was weird though, because I thought a lot about smoking. When I used to smoke I would step outside and have a cigarette when I was brimming. Granted – that was 13 years ago – but still, last night? Somewhere in the back of my head a part of me was remembering that. It’s not like I was considering smoking, I would not do that, but there was a part of me remembering that solution to similar days. Which is probably why I was only 108 pounds when I quit smoking. It turns out weight gain was not an issue when my coping mechanism was an appetite suppressant instead of a 6-pack of donuts.

Anyway. It was just a weird night. I tried to unwind by reading a bit and eventually I calmed my brain down enough to sleep, but sleep was restless and I woke up at 2:50am. So last night definitely did not belong in the “Using Food As An Emotional Crutch” category but it also didn’t fall in the “Healthy Coping Skills” category either. But I’ll still celebrate the win. And try to figure out how to shake the super-weird feeling that pervades me when all of my body and emotions seems to think I can’t let go of negative feelings without walking away with an over-full stomach stuffed with unhealthy foods.

Talking Through The Gross

There’s an article making the rounds about the scientific reasons the past Biggest Loser contestants have put on weight after coming home and then not been able to lose it again, or letting it get out of control bringing them back to obesity. It talks about metabolism and the chemistry of how your body breaks down foods.

But you know what? I don’t need science to explain it. It’s actually easy.

You just feel gross.

And it’s hard to care about what you’re eating or if you’re exercising if you feel gross. No matter how much weight you lost or where you ended up before you started putting it back, you just feel gross once you can feel the weight BACK on your body that you worked hard to lose. More gross than before you lost it to begin with.

I got down to racing weight (the weight I feel the most comfortable running long distances) before my 100K and have since gained 15 lbs back of that weight and I can tell you: I just feel gross. If I met me in public I wouldn’t think, “Gross!” But my clothes don’t fit right and I feel bigger rolls in places and I can’t wear my cutest outfits and I see these marks on my body from where my clothes are tight and sometimes I wear big shirts to cover the fact that I can’t button my pants.

And when you’re feeling all of those things from putting on weight you worked hard to lose? It is really hard to motivate yourself to A) Eat Right and B) Exercise.

And then, when you do? When you’ve put on weight, exercising just feels weird. You can feel things jiggling you used to not, things hurt more on a heavier body, and you don’t have the stamina you used to have. So every step or push or jump is a constant reminder from your body: Look! You’ve put on weight.

And if you have problems eating when you’re upset, then of COURSE you’re going to turn to the donut shop.

I think you can put on 5lbs and not feel too much of that stuff, depending on how tall you are. I’m short so, so more than 5lbs and suddenly the Gross Trigger sets in because that’s when clothes change on your body. Once that Gross Trigger kicks in you have to climb UPHILL every time you go to work out. Or every time you skip the french fries. YOU JUST FEEL GROSS. And you don’t make good decisions when you feel gross.

So that 5 becomes 10 becomes 15 and…

You see where it goes.

It doesn’t matter what science says, honestly. It doesn’t matter how much you lost or what size you got down to. All that matters if you were at a certain weight long enough to get to know how your clothes (often NEW clothes) feel on that smaller body, and you put on 10-15lbs, you’re going to feel gross. Period. It doesn’t matter if you look gross (because I’ll be honest, my boobs look great at this weight) it matters that you FEEL gross. And it’s hard to push past that.

And it’s different than when you first attempt to lose the weight to begin with. At that point you’re probably dressing for the heavier body. You know how the clothes fit. You might know you need to lose weight, but there’s no reminders of dramatic or recent failure every time you move. Once you lose it, and then start gaining it back? It’s like a constant reminder: YOU HAVE FAILED!!!

I wake up and can FEEL the 15lbs extra on my body so, before I even get out of bed I’m thinking, “UG. Gross.” Which makes it SUPER hard to motivate myself to run or eat right. Right now, RIGHT NOW, I’m thinking about donuts instead of running because donuts don’t make my body jiggle and won’t leave chafe marks on my thighs. Also? I don’t have time to run this morning.

Here’s my brain right now:

Ew. I feel gross. I don’t want to feel gross. What makes me feel good? RUNNING! Ew. Running makes my returning rolls chafe and jiggle. But you know what else feels great? DONUTS.

And this whole, “Yes, but you’ll feel terrible later!” response is bullshit to anyone who eats their feelings. OF COURSE YOU’LL FEEL TERRIBLE LATER. But when you just want to feel better NOW, then LATER does not matter. Being addicted to food as a mood lifter is no different than being addicted to drugs or alcohol. There’s a huge part of you who knows about the LATER issue, but that part is not making decisions. Only the part that wants relief RIGHT NOW is making decisions. So right NOW I’m thinking, “Krispy Kreme is open 24 hours. I could get donuts for the office on the way into work. I haven’t brought donuts into the office in awhile. Imagine how delicious that would be.”

And immediately? I’m not thinking about how gross I feel. I’m thinking about donuts. And donuts make a person like me? Who eats their feelings? HAPPY. Even if but for a brief moment.

Gross. I just feel gross. BUT DONUTS ARE AMAZING. That would totally make me feel better.

But I have to get back on track. My 100-miler is inching closer and closer every day and running 100 miles on this body is NOT AN OPTION. No matter how much better my boobs look. Also? 15 lbs on a 5ft 3in body is about where the line occurs where you need to start buying new clothes. I’m down to all of the stuff that doesn’t fit tight against my body and that’s NOT MUCH. One pair of jeans. And even they are terrible the first day out of the dryer. I need to get on track or I’m going to have to buy clothes for this body and that’s not in the budget.

So I have to battle PAST the gross. I have to look deeper into the “GROSS” feeling and not give into it. This body is still amazing, now matter how gross it feels. I need to take care of it. I need to love it. Even if all of my bras leave pinch lines now, and even if my thighs rub together when I wear those shorts that I used to love. All of the things that repeat to me: Gross. Gross. Gross. I need to fight back against that with different mantras. And now we come to the hardest part of all. The part I’ve been really trying to work on in therapy. Treating myself like I would my good friend. Reminding myself of the good work I do and that my body carries me through that work so instead of thinking about the rolls or the chafing or the tight clothes, I need to think: WHAT DOES MY BODY NEED RIGHT NOW? Does my body need donuts? No, because that will totally zap my energy later today when I need it most. Does my body need exercise? YES. And while I can’t squeeze it in before work, maybe I can squeeze it in after. I need to really be in-tune with the needs of my body and not the way it FEELS in the clothes that are too tight.

I need to look deeper than the unbuttoned jeans and really think about how I’m treating my body. And I need to feed my soul with compliments instead of donuts. Instead of eating donuts, I need to remind myself of the wonderful things I do to improve the lives of those around me. Let that be my quick-fix when I’m feeling bad.

Easier said that done.

But if I saw someone telling another friend, “Oh, gross. That shirt is so tight on you it shows your muffin top on the jeans that are too small,” I would FREAK THE F*CK OUT. I might even punch that person in the face and say, “DO NOT TALK TO MY FRIEND LIKE THAT. She is beautiful. She is full of love and joy and she cares so deeply for the world around her. DO NOT TALK TO HER LIKE THAT.” And then I would hug my friend and hold her until she felt better.

I just need to treat myself, like I would treat my friend.

Shaking Things Up

This is Allergy Season for me, the 1-2 months a year where I’m staying at a moderate level of miserable depending on weather and amount of hours outdoors. Because of the weird drainage, I tend to get a cough when I go prone at bedtime. I tried a few nights of sleeping upright on the couch, but it wasn’t working so I’ve been chugging cough medicine every night which is helping me sleep through coughing (sneezing is another story) but I wake up not feeling like I’ve slept at all. It’s weird. I got a good 7 hours or more last night yet I struggled to get out of bed an hour later than usual. COUGH MEDICINE IS TERRIBLE.

Anyway – this week I’ve been weirdly groggy and I’ve had trouble getting going and focusing in the mornings. SO! I shifted things around. Usually I drink all of the coffee, blog, housework, and then shower. This morning I made the coffee but then GOT IN THE SHOWER. WHAT? I showered BEFORE blogging and y’all, I’ll be honest, it feels really weird to be blogging clean.

I also keep feeling like I should be leaving because usually showering is the LAST step of the day, not the FIRST. Now I’m clean for EVERYTHING and I can’t tell if I love it or if it’s really disconcerting. (If you’re seen the featured image of me and my coffee with this post, then you’re seeing the “Clean While Blogging” selfie I posted to document HOW WEIRD this all was.)

I go back and forth on the necessities of routines in my life. When it comes to running I need routines, which I’ve gotten out of since the last bad fall. (Good news: Pain in knee seems significantly reduced today which is good because I’m trying running again tonight!) But sometimes I feel like I use my routines as a weird crutch. Like, if my routine is off I say, “Well – if that’s off then LETS JUST LET EVERYTHING BE OFF!” Any weird shift in a relatively normal routine and I allow myself french fries 4 times a day and cookies around every turn. It’s like I give myself permission to eat ALL of my feelings if a day does not follow an expected routine.

ISN’T THAT WEIRD?

So sometimes I feel like I should intentionally shake things up and challenge myself to still avoid the Eating Of The Feelings which is what I’ve been doing every day since my schedule has been so insane lately. Maybe today will be that challenge! A day to prove to myself that just because the schedule isn’t following an expected pattern, doesn’t mean I can throw all caution to the wind and give up on all efforts to be reasonable with my food intake.

Because I don’t think I’ll ever have a “normal” routine again. The kids are too old with their own extra-curriculars, I have two volunteer jobs, my husband and I are both training for big races, AND we randomly get calls demanding we leave our house (after cleaning it of course) for showings. Truthfully? Every day is just a crapshoot and who knows what is going to happen when. I need to let go of the hope of a routine to follow to keep me within healthy eating habits, and I need to learn to control my emotional urges to binge no matter how insane the day is. Maybe find routine in other ways? Like randomly break into song every three hours? That would be hilarious.

Anyway. So today seems like a good day to give it a try. To recognize there is NO routine any more and I need to accept that and try to still make good choices even amidst the chaos of life.

Finding Value in Moderation and Learning Self Love.

I got up kinda late this morning. 3:10am. I had almost everything packed up to run at the Y today but that 40+ minutes of extra sleep kinda throws off my schedule and I also kinda needed to get into work early to make sure some equipment is charged for today. On top of that I ate terribly yesterday so my stomach is angry and I just don’t want to run.

I didn’t run yesterday either. For an assortment of unimportant reasons. That’s why I ate horrible yesterday.

I hate that I have settled into this weird existence where if I don’t start my day off at the gym, I eat 4000 calories minimum before it’s over. Whereas if I get my run in, I can hang around the right amount. This is horrible because some days I just don’t want to run, but then it all goes to shit because it’s like I have no will power when I haven’t started my day with a run.

And then I feel shitty because I didn’t run AND I ate 14 cadbury creme eggs.

Driving home last night I was thinking about these decisions I make that allow me to achieve some sort of temporary happiness but then leave me with lingering shitty feelings for hours or days, depending on the streak I’m on. Why do I do that? Why do I keep stuffing my face with candy even though I know I’m going to feel terrible later?

I hate that I can’t just have a normal morning, NOT go to the Y, have normal eating habits and not hate myself. It’s like the only way I don’t hate myself at the end of the day is if I run at LEAST 5 miles (because I only managed 3 on Monday and the day fell to the crapper bad) and if I stay under my restricted caloric intake. THEN I got to bed thinking, “WAY TO GO, KIM!”

Why can’t I allow myself love and validation for the 9 million other good things I get done. I carry way more than half the burden of keeping our house running and raising our family on top of working full time at a job with a devil’s commute and hold two volunteer positions that require various levels of attention and being a member of two women’s groups that each meet once a month on top of TRYING TO GET MY DAMN HOUSE READY TO SELL.

Why is all of that not enough? Why can I do all of that in one day but – quite literally – HATE MYSELF for binge eating and not running.

Part of me says, “DAMMIT, KIM! That is why you MUST RUN in the mornings! Don’t skip today! You’ll feel better if you run!”

And that voice is right. I will feel better. But some days I should be allowed to skip (like when I kinda need to get stuff done before 8am and I slept late) and still maintain some level of control over my eating habits and still manage some self-love for the 19 million other things I do that I should be proud of.

So – today I’m not going to run. My stomach is too upset this morning and I have too much stuff that needs my attention in the pre-dawn hours. But my goal is to not let this VERY NORMAL DECISION catapult me into some sort of Forest of Gluttony that only ends in the Swamp of Hatred. I’m going to try to spend today thinking about all of the amazing reasons I deserve self-love that have nothing to do with miles in my run log. I should eat right today, not because I ran this morning, but because I love myself and I want to treat myself with the kindness I deserve.

I was listening to an interview with Chris Hardwick the other day and he’s the busiest man in the world, quite possibly. He was talking about how to get started in getting your health in order and he casually said something like, “If you can’t work out an hour a few times a week just do what you can” because I guess that’s his schedule. And it reminded me – that to be “healthy” you can do moderate exercise. This shit I was doing to prep for my 100K was like a part-time job. That’s certainly why I collapsed so terribly after it was over and have gained 8lbs in weeks since. It’s like I can’t do running/healthy moderately. I either love myself for running 10+ hours a week training for something insane, or I hate myself for binge eating donuts and easter candy all day.

I tried to write a list of Things Kim Does Do She Should Feel Proud About (because I’m a chronic list-maker, that’s what I do) and it was TERRIBLE. Everything I wrote I just argued with. I found myself saying things about what OTHER people do that are BETTER and MORE IMPRESSIVE and then another side of myself counterbalancing all of the negative things I do, “Yeah – you did laundry, Zoot. But you also let Wes play screens all night.” Now, if one of YOU guys was doing it – a friend? I’d be like, “YOU ARE AMAZING. DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. AND DO NOT BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF! YOU ARE HUMAN!” But to myself? I’m not that kind.

Today: Self care. Moderation. And maybe consider the things I do that give me worth that don’t have to do with running or eating. Be as kind to myself as I am to others.

And maybe stay away from Easter candy.